American Indian Removal: What Does It Mean to Remove a People?

This online lesson provides perspectives from Native American community members, documents, maps, images, and activities to help students and teachers understand an important and difficult chapter in the history both of Native Nations and the United States. Scroll to begin an exploration of the vast scope and effects of American Indian removal. This lesson is one part of many resources and lessons available at the American Indian Removal website ( Soon after the founding of the United States, American Indian Nations in the East faced increasing pressure to cede their lands and move west of the Mississippi. For many years, American Indian leaders made difficult choices by planning strategically and relying on their nations’ cultural, political and military strengths to avoid removal. Removal became a federal policy with the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Although a few Indian Nations were successful in keeping some of their lands, about 100,000 Indian people were ultimately removed to Indian Territory. The process of removal created upheaval, suffering and death among Indian people. However, it was not the end for American Indians; they have survived and thrive as their own cultural and political entities today. The history of American Indian removal serves as an important lesson for all people today in understanding the importance of human rights, relations among diverse peoples, and the consequences of certain policies and actions taken by nations.

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